Case in point. Last week I had a "discussion" with a Trump supporter claiming that Trump "placed the biggest sanctions on Russia than anyone else and defeated ISIS when no one else could have," or Trump has "succeeded in building the most vibrant economy in American history!". Except none of that is true. When trying to explain the fallacy of their arguments, they all come down to two important positions. First, nothing I can tell them will convince them that the DEEP STATE isn't behind everything to "destroy Trump." Except, there is no Deep State and there has never been one. Nowhere can anyone find any actual basis for such a "state" in our government, because it simply does not exists. Where did the term originate that Republicans now use? You guessed it - Stephen Bannon of Breitbart fame. Made up from whole cloth, reinforced by Trump and his supporting media. The term has now captivated Trump supporters to the extent it is there first fall back position on every argument. "We can't trust your facts because they came from the Deep State!" Since when do facts change? Also, when those so caught up in the rhetoric of false narratives can no longer see the "forest from the trees" resulting in impulsive and reactive argument based on fantasy - and the cult-like adoration they pile atop their new Savior" or "Chosen One." Second, attack those who you disagree with, with personal slanders. "That's your opinion" or "You are so mis-informed!" or the best, "You have fallen into the Anti-American Socialist/Communist pit of hatred for everything American!" I had one guy last week tell me off because he "knew more about politics" than I did (the guy is 24 years old, works a minimum wage job and has no formal secondary education).
Now we have a litany of Americans preparing to vote in 2020 armed with a bevy of misinformation and propaganda spoon fed them on a daily basis by Trump, Fox News and other Right Wing outlets. How do we know this? It really is not too difficult to ascertain the origins of their beliefs when they are exclusively propagated and reinforced by Fox News. Case in point. A Letter to the Editor in the Sarasota Herald Tribune reads like a rendition spewed from a Trump Zombie. How can anyone tell? It full of lies, that's how.
The headline of his letter is entitled "Democratic Party stuck in Stupid." Talk about projection, but I was willing to read the letter to see what type of argument the letter writer was making - and found it full of nonsense. First, he readily admits to being a "deplorable." Okaaay. Then he goes on to claim he is "disgusted" with "Trump's conceit, lying and arrogance", labeling them "obscene." But his next statements leave the station known as Reality. "The policies of the Democrats are even more so (obscene); for example the right of a woman to have an abortion at the end of her pregnancy (isn't that murder)." As a matter of fact, it IS murder, and no Democrat is espousing such a policy. There are no full term live-birth abortions - they simply do not exist except in very limited situations and when medically necessary to save the life of the mother. So as I read further, I wondered where this letter writer gets his information (knowing full well it had to be Fox or another Right Wing garbage scow of lies). He goes on..."medical benefits for people who are here unlawfully (ask any politician if they can tell the public that he doesn't mind if some illegal immigrant is cared for in an emergency room before his loved one)." Except no one is ever turned away from an emergency room for emergency health care. No one. Care is provided on a Triage basis - treatment for those more in need are prioritized. Is the letter writer suggesting doctors should let an immigrant whose status is "undetermined" die before treating a non-life threatening problem exhibited by a "Real Citizen?" This is a ridiculous notion, but still one fostered and fomented by the Right Wing. But our current system does not provide such a "priority"system, nor should it. That is our current system. Have insurance or not, a citizen or not, medical treatment is given when needed. Since when do Republicans think it is a good idea to turn away people (regardless of their "status") from the provision of needed medical care? Ask any physician. Treatment is not denied anyone - regardless of "status." So why would someone think otherwise? And where does morality and religious ethics enter into the letter writer's mind. Only Americans are worth the the provision of medical care? Hardly a Christian or American thing to believe and proclaim in a public letter.
He goes on to write, "...and open borders (national security and educational/medical costs are no critical matters)." This is one of those statements that is really frustrating. The notion that Democrats are arguing for Open Borders can't be found in ANYTHING spoken or written by Democrats. In fact, the only mention of such nonsense comes solely from the Right Wing. So as I rhetorically began to think where this letter writer gets his information, he confirms my suspicion in his next sentence. "Two Fox Commentators rated the Democratic Debate's winner as Michael Bloomberg, who isn't running!"...." Since Fox News did not air any of the Democratic debates, does this mean the letter writer doesn't watch to learn for himself what they are espousing but instead relies on Fox News to tell him what to think? And he considers Democrats to be "Stuck on Stupid?."
With all of the disinformation, misinformation and gas lighting coming from the Right, Democrats and Independents have a much more difficult time getting reality in front of the electorate. Facebook announcing they will accept political ads, regardless if they are full of lies is another step in the wrong direction. Hopefully one day, America will effectively balance the First Amendment with the need for integrity and honesty from our media. We have had some very rough patches in the past when it came to dishonesty in our media and at the highest levels of government, but we have always been able to rely on the intelligence of average Americans to discern when they are being lied to. Unfortunately, those interested in dividing us from within are succeeding by pitting Americans against each other, while some unwittingly are aiding and abetting their efforts by being "stupid" just by themselves.
Although it has been disputed if Benjamin Franklin actually said these words, they remains applicable to our current state of affairs. "We are all born ignorant, but one has to work hard to remain stupid." One thing the letter writer got right, there certainly are a lot of stupid Americans - especially those that throw stones at others while living in very, very fragile houses. Have a great week!